Sports lore and literature is rich pasture for legends of what might have been. Would the Oilers of the 80’s have won five cups in a row if Steve Smith knew which goal to score in? Would the Buffalo Bills be one of the NFL’s great dynasties if Scott Norwood wasn’t “wide right” in a thoroughly winnable Super Bowl? Would Montreal still have a baseball team if there was a World Series in 1994?
No one really knows, but every fan has a theory, an angle, a belief in the possibility of alternate outcomes. Sometimes the outcomes are so unexpected, so bizarre, that only the rewriting of the moment as it “should have been” brings any satisfaction to the bruised heart of a die-hard sports fan.
While reality might constantly remind me that a journeyman wide receiver who averaged fewer than 11 catches a season over a thoroughly unspectacular four year career made one of the greatest contested catches in Super Bowl history, my heart as a sports fan will forever turn on the question “what if he dropped that ball?”.
“What if” is the most powerful question for all sports fans and participants, specially those who’ve taken an “L” in a big game or come up short in a big moment. Not every sports moment ends with the right team crushing the walk-off dinger that shatters the stadium lights.
And that’s where “what if” comes in.
“What if” is a reprieve; a moment to reconstruct reality in the way we wanted it to go, and not how it actually went. In my life as a sports fan, I find the conversations around “what if” to be more enjoyable, excitable and entertaining than the rote replays of what simply “was”. “Was” is vanilla; “what if” is an ice cream store.
With that in mind, I offer an alternate ending to the CSS floor hockey season that never was (and like most of my musings, it’s mostly made up).
Following the 6-4 win over PCKU by the Leftovers, the cold Covid wind crashed full into the 2020 CSS floor hockey season like a Scott Stevens’ elbow. Dazed and battered by ill fortune and fear for what came next, the league spun on its skates (shoes really), trying to sort out which bench to get to while the cobwebs cleared.
When vision ceased doubling and returned to clear focus, everything had changed. The bleachers were empty; the gym was silent. Gone were the hard charging Narwhals with their eyes on the cup. Vanished too were those who warm benches and Pucks of the Mightiest sort. Riley’s Rangers, having just mastered the timely appearance, were lost once again. The Leftovers had left, and would not come again. The NHL Rejects, finally all nicknamed, left the building like Elvis and would not be back. Down on their luck and done for the year, the Lucky Pucks had departed without that first win. To Covid 19 we would all like to say a good chorus of PCKU!
So it was, just one team remained. For them, all were home games, even when working from home. So up from the ashes like phoenix the bird rose the mighty Nordiques to challenge the herd! For all the enthusiasm, of which there was much, after March 12 no opponents would show to challenge old coots. So, play on they did, attending each game with a will and passion that only they saw (because Bonny Henry said to students, “you can’t go to school”).
“Glam”, he made saves of the scintillating sort on blistering shots that never did come. The scorers they scored, sticks raised to the sky. Goals were so many in the mind of the “Fixer”, that he wanted more cabbage that goes to the scorers. “Dana Murzyn Hockey School, “Dirty Mike”, “Boots”, “The Animal”, “JoJo”, “El Snapo”, “Intenso”, “Speedy G” and the “Boss” had moments where all were transcendent. But alas, with nets empty of tenders, the “Fresh Prince” went goalless and twinkled no twine.
So it came to an end with no one to witness, save the gallery gods and the ghosts of past seasons. The ladies, they tied both for first, but neither for last, their names on the trophy to remember the past. The boys though, they would stew and would fume, for their names were not scribed on the trophy they craved. The season was gone, stolen by Covid, and to make matters worse the Nordiques won it all!
Here ends the story of a season that wasn’t, of what might have been had Covid not happened. Thanks to you all for the laughs that we shared, the effort you gave, the jerseys you made. CSS floor hockey is down, but it’s nowhere near out. We’ll be back when we can, that’s a safe bet to make. When we are I am certain the conversation will turn often to good old “what if”.
Thanks to all of the staff, students and community members who have supported us over the years. Congratulations to the CSS graduating class of 2020, though they leave us under the oddest of circumstances. We miss each and every one of you (and don’t forget to shop local).